BusinessDay

Group seeks media support against abuse of citizens by security agents

Youths and Students Advocates for Development (YSAD), a non-governmental organisation, has appealed for the support of the media in its campaign against extortion and other forms of abuse on citizens, by security agencies in the South-East region of Nigeria.

Obinna Nwagbara, chief executive officer, YSAD, made the appeal at a press conference, held at the secretariat of Aba Federated Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists.

He stated that it is only the media that can report those involved in extortion, their victims and all manner of actions taken or not taken against such acts.

According to him, indiscipline is one of the major problems stifling the development of Nigeria, noting that 30 percent of problems bedevilling the country, will be solved, if indiscipline among law enforcement agents are tackled.

He observed that problems, such as proliferation of arms and other kinds of insecurity in Nigeria will cease to exist, if law enforcement agents are disciplined enough to focus on their duties, by avoiding all manner of unwholesome distractions that make them derail.

“It is unfortunate that the Nigerian Army, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and other uniform agencies have joined police in extorting citizens.

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“Do you know that from Aba to Port Harcourt, a journey that is not up to an hour, a journey that’s barely above 60 kilometres, you’ll go through 27 security checkpoints. I’m telling you that from Osisioma in Aba to Port Harcourt in Rivers State, there are 27 checkpoints of different law enforcement agents.

“During the #ENDSARS protest, everyone was focused on just the police. However, all the things we accuse the police of doing, the army is also doing it on the road, personnel of the FRSC are doing it, Customs personnel and all other security agencies are doing it.

“The roads are bad, you’re not creating jobs and somebody will suffer from morning to night and come and give you money because you adorn government uniforms.

“Motorists are working, but they’re not seeing anything, because they keep sharing everything with the law enforcement agents”.

Nwagbara noted that the extortionist acts of the police and other law enforcement agents didn’t start recently, but said that it must end, through constant accurate reportage, actions and reactions on it until many of those involved are brought to book.

“We’ve adopted a multi-stakeholder approach. We’re working with journalists, traditional rulers, transport unions, Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), religious leaders, the government and all the security agencies.

“We have launched a campaign against bribery called “No Dey Give”. Extortion is more around the South-East and it must end”, he said.

He called on journalists in Abia State to partner with YSAD on the move of eradicating extortion in the South East, stressing that without the help of the media, nothing can be achieved, because it is only the media that can report about those involved in extortion, the victims, the prosecution and all manner of actions taken or not taken against it.

Nwagbara further stressed that YSAD wants active citizenship in Nigeria, adding that almost all parts of the country are frustrating because nobody is talking.

He stated that If Nigeria is practising democracy, it means that everybody should be involved and urged citizens to speak against whatever that they are not comfortable with.

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